Thursday, January 31, 2008

Hoping For A Snowday

As January marks its passing I would like to nod my head to Jim Miller.
My friend of many years.
Goodnight you old bugger.

In other news. The wind is creeping in to the corners of Hallett’s Mountain and it’s a chill wind indeed unless you can scrabble room by the fire. As its my fire I have my feet up beside it. I have a glass of whisky and a strong coffee beside me on the left arm of the chair. To my right a bowl of Wine gums. There is also a rumour of chocolate but I am keeping that hidden unless She Of The Townhouse or The Boy twig.
We are hoping that the bad weather warnings for our area are realised and that by morning we shall find the rest of the world cut off by snow. At least to the degree that we wont have to go to work.
Fingers crossed.

Update 01/02/2008
No sign of snow at all on the ground and just the briefest flurries as I set off for work this morning.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Sock It To Me

When She Of The Townhouse gave me socks for Christmas, I sensed that a certain stage had been reached in our relationship. Nevertheless I persevere.....
The footwear in question had a higher purpose. Over the weeks since the festive season, things have been complicated. You see the socks in question were labelled with the days of the week. At first I thought that this would be easy. If the day was Monday then you fished out the socks with Monday written on them, wore them for a day and then bunged them in the wash. And the next day you picked up Tuesday, the day being a sock related update of the previous one. So on and so on. I am sure that even a child could get the hang of it, and for someone as shamefully over certificated as yours truly, well surely such a concept is child’s play.
Is it bugger!
Within mere days the socks had performed a shuffle reminiscent of the pea under one of three thimbles. By the end of the first week I was finding it hard to remember what millennium we were in and I just couldn’t match the socks to the days no matter how much sweat or intellect I expended.
And (lap it up Miss Beckwith) then the great Moo Moo stepped in. I was getting ready for work last Monday and my personal deity revealed one of the wrinkles in the universe that comes every now and then to a Newton, an Einstien, or a Hawking. There I was, desperate to fit the socks to the day and all the time I was starting out wrong footed.
I picked up the nearest pair and in a flash realised that, in accordance with their legend, it would be so much better if it was Saturday again.
From now on it’s the socks that will determine the day and not the other way round.
Some of them are going to be recycled a lot more quickly of course.

Miss Beckwith? She was the Venus who taught me English when I was eleven. Never let me begin sentences with ‘and’.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Déjà Vu ?

Many years ago , on an eighteenth birthday that turned out to be memorable for reasons that I wont completely embarrass you with, one of the gifts I was given was a book token.
This represented the thoughts and good wishes of a group of friends that shared my life and lunchtimes in the sixth form college.
Lets see, Soo, Christine, Elaine, Julie, Alison, Peter, Kath, Jayne….Oh dear I am going to have to find it now and edit up at a later date.
The thing was the token had a picture on the front that was a puzzle to me at the time. Envisaged as some time in my future was a man nurturing a whisky and a pipe, feet up beside a glowing log fire, getting stuck in to an improving book. This latter presumably being the focus, in keeping with the nature of the gift.
Pleased with their generosity and the sentiments expressed within I made demure reference to the naffness of the picture. And to a woman ( sorry Pete it just scans better..) they assured me that this was an accurate representation of their own expectations of my future.
You can imagine what a blow this might be to an eighteen year old lad. The lanky Don Juan who agonised over the affections of young women just such as these was seen as a pipe and slippers man! It all seemed a dismal prospect.
The hormonal rollercoaster was put firmly back on track at a shared party in Hanham cricket club later that evening thank goodness. Even so some niggle of doubt surfaced again last night.
She Of The Townhouse is away on a witchcraft course you see and so for two nights I am alone. And I expect you can see it coming….
There I sat, nurturing a whisky, feet up beside a glowing log fire, getting stuck in to an improving book. The pipe was replaced by a stinking dog, a black Labrador grunting from time to time at my feet.
To all intents and purposes I had become the picture on the card. Disturbing.
So there we go, I am at a loose end again tonight. What should I do?
Text me, let me know, leave a note in the comment box perhaps?
I mean there’s the pub. The cinema. I could go out and watch the moon on a remote beach ( if the rain stops). I could dash out for some Kentucky fried weasel at the drive through. The night is pregnant with all kinds of exciting possibilities that I am eager to have drawn to my attention.
What do you think?

Oh incidentally, in case any of you out there in BlogSpace are reading it
A Guide to the Gower by Wynford Vaughn Thomas
The Oxford Book of French Verse
Wandering by Herman Hesse.
Thanks girls…..and Peter

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Hot Stuff

Around this time of year I find myself thinking about Dave. My best friend for twenty odd years was taken away by foul cancer two years ago now. We had taught the same role in schools side by side ever since way back and we knew each other like a pair of old socks. We were the same age as well, still are I suppose but its not so easy to talk to him now.
It was around now that I spoke to him for the last time. Squeezed his hand. Cried a bit as I walked away. But you know he would be awkward if I made a scene so instead I will trot out one of his thoughts in the hope that those who knew him will turn a smile with me and he will continue to be remembered with affection by a generation before he fades. As of course we all must.
We used to waste time occasionally speculating on a program on the TV. ‘Ready Steady Cook’ has been on BBC for some time now. Its format is that two guests bring in a bag of food costing no more that five pounds ( about ten dollars (US)) and then, with the aid of two celebrity chefs, turn the contents into a spectacular feast inside twenty minutes.
We would idle away a few pints of beer amusing ourselves over the most unlikely ingredients that you could tip out of the bag and face the poor schmuck who really had to deliver.
Tara Palmer Wotsname came up with an interesting take when she tipped a pair of red high heeled shoes out in front of Anthony Worral Thompson. He made a herb omelette out of the storecupboard specials that the chefs are allowed access to in order to supplement if memory serves.
We decided that we had to stick to food items though. Eventually Dave came up with something that we felt would crush any attempt to deal with it.

Out of our bag would crash a turkey, deep frozen overnight in a bath of liquid nitrogen.

Right then fellas, twenty minutes starts now, ready steady cook!

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Not A Word Mind

Dear reader, I hardly know what to say. There is a whiff of scandal here on Hallett's Mountain. We await developments agog and speculate away.

Saturday, January 05, 2008

The Emporers Dirty Laundry

Apocalypse has struck at the Townhouse.
You know that moment on all naval disaster films when the background hum of the engine stops. The one where you are suddenly conscious of the sound by focus on its absence. Well a similar moment happened sometime between Christmas and New Year in The Old Walled Town. The washing machine, faithful old retainer of socks, ground to a halt. And a very nasty grinding sound it was.
A mere thirty seconds after disaster struck a large amount of laundry was discovered. After accusations had been exchanged, this was bagged, bundled off up to my lofty perch, and loaded in to the Halletts Mountain washing machine.
Now don’t get me wrong, I am not that much of a slob, but a T-shirt will normally last me for a couple of days if you know what I mean. And a pair of jeans….well sometimes more than a day or two. I even have to be reminded sometimes. Well there you go. But hardly the end of a spectrum.
What struck me when sorting through the stuff to put on the washing line, was that we have one among us who changes his clothes with a frequency bordering on OCD. From one of the teenage bedrooms of the Townhouse has emerged enough clothing to relieve a community struck by Tsunami.
Even as we speak I hear the distnat rumble of a half track delivering the next load....

Friday, January 04, 2008

What A Great Age You Are Grandmama

Today was my grandmothers 96th birthday. She and I have been out for a meal.
We had a bit of a laugh with her wheelchair and getting in and out of my car.
We dined out at a very nice Chinese restaurant in Bath and then took a tour around the park. We talked over old times and speculated on whether she would reach her hundredth birthday.
Later, as she was falling asleep in the chair, I realised that I was almost exactly half her age.